Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming

Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming

Depending on certain cooling solutions and the type of CPU, there is a given range of acceptable temperature while gaming on PC for both air coolers and water capable coolers.

This article explores the capabilities of air coolers and watercooled PCs and their optimal temperatures when gaming.

What Is a Normal CPU Temp While Gaming?  

While higher core CPU designations often run hotter than lower core CPUs, the average non-CPU bound game runs anywhere from 60-75 degrees Celsius. Anything over 80 degrees Celsius can put your CPU at risk of overheating when approaching its TDP (Thermal Design Power) which is the maximum temperature a CPU can achieve.

Max CPU Temperature

Maximum CPU temperature is reached by improper cooling solutions and applications like little to no thermal paste or ineffective fan and heatsink combos. The TDP is often the “breaking point” of the CPU’s design and its casing containing the silicon wafer, at that temperature (90 Degrees Celsius or thereabouts, If the CPU is running for extended periods of time at this capability it will most likely cause instability and shut itself off due to safety.

How To Know If Your CPU is Overheating

Depending on performance, a CPU overheating can cause issues like thermal throttling on CPU cores, stutters and or an excessive amount of hot air inside of a computer case. Here are some diagnosis programs and methods to better failcate overheating and excessive thermal throttling.

BIOS

In the BIOS, the motherboard has built in monitoring systems and settings to configure. To get into the BIOS, repeatedly hit the “F2” or “DEL '' key on startup to access the BIOS of most manufactured motherboards. While at idle, if the CPU temperature starts to skyrocket past 35-40 Degrees celsius, then the cooling solution, thermal paste, or CPU and motherboard themselves needs to be addressed.

Image Source: Reddit user u/widhitl

Fan Curve

In a BIOS, there will be a fan control panel that can set specific profiles when the components hit certain temperatures. Fan profiles have a few set configurations like “Quiet,” “Performance mode,” or the ability to create manual profiles.

Using my personal computer (H710 Case) with a 5800x from AMD and an EK360MM (3 fan configuration radiator), Let's look at a specific type of profile for an AIO(All In One) configuration in a push-pull configuration.

I have the fans at 35-40% for my fan profile from 30 degrees to 55 degrees Celsius. They go to 60% power until the temperature ever reaches 78 degrees Celsius. In a last-ditch effort to cool the system, fans go to 90-100% between 78 and 90 degrees. With this configuration, the only time the fans have gone to 90-100% was during synthetic stress tests.

CPU Programs

There are great CPU programs to track temperature but extrapolate more info such as clock speed, core activity, and important manufacturing details. Here are my top three programs that I use for CPU diagnosis.

CoreTemp - This is a handy tool that breaks down the temperature of the CPU Dye, which is distinctly different from the surface temperature measured at the cooler. Depending on the CPU, you can even get the individual temperatures of cures within the casing to show working over others.

CPU-Z - This program is a general information app for lists of components inside the system but highlights the CPU in features and data. If you have any questions about the model, capabilities, core count, or general manufacturer information, it will be in the CPU tab.

Ryzen Master - While this program is only for AMD processors, it is the best breakdown for everything happening to a CPU. Almost everything can be monitored and adjusted, and this program even comes with overclocking profiles to apply to the CPU.

*Please note:overclocking is inherently dangerous to the health of a given CPU, no matter how many safety precautions have been applied by the manufacturer. This is not an endorsement to try these profiles. Please consider this before attempting to apply overclocking to your CPU*

How to Optimize CPU Temperatures

There are many ways to tackle high CPU temperatures that require more work than others. Let's run through options that have the most work involved first.

Replacing the Case

Some cases on the consumer market will opt for less airflow due to stylistic or cost measures. We have many cases with airflow and non airflow versions like our P400 (left) and the P400a (right). Both are the same but allow the front panel more access to air. This is around $30-$40 difference in production costs for manufacturers.


Image sources: Phanteks & Amazon

Avoid Overclocking/ Using Undervolting

Depending on the type of CPU you have, you may want to avoid overclocking altogether due to the excess heat management. There is also another option called “undervolting.”

Undervolting is finely adjusting the amount of voltage in a component. This applies to both the CPU and GPU as finely tuning their clock speeds to make them work more efficiently by raising the lower end clock speed and lowering the higher end clock speed to hit a particular band of efficiency in a CPU or GPU.

This creates less rapid fluctuations between the highest and lowest clock speed, bringing more stability, less heat, and a longer life span in components.

Changing Your Cooler

Swapping your air cooler for a different air cooler or AIO can benefit. Air cooled heatsinks are known for their low management and simple design. However, dust accumulation hamper cooling efficiency if not appropriately maintained.

AIO water cooling has more moving parts; however, the benefits outweigh the thermal overhead in most mid to high tower cases. Their general life expectancy is around five years, depending on the type of AIO, and CPUs that run hotter can benefit from this thermal advantage.

Binding this argument is also the thermal paste used with each solution. While not at the center of attention, thermal paste provides a few degrees of support to temperatures recorded on the CPU. This can also be seen in the paste's type of quality, as not all are made equal.

Checking the Airflow Configuration

Airflow configuration is vital in displacing hot air out of the system and cold air into the system. Having pockets of static hot air can often “choke” the system components into thermal throttling and not performing. Here is a graph courtesy of Be Quiet! to show a ”push-pull configuration” for mid-tower cases:


Image source: Be Quiet!

Reducing ambient temperature

If the room temperature is too high, this will contribute to the PC's performance. This contributes to humidity as the air is not optimal for cooling. While not the sole cause of high temperatures within a system, moisture and heat from the environment contribute to how long thermal paste lasts and how effective air moves through a system.

What Do the Factors Mean For The Life Span Of The CPU? 

All of these factors can contribute to the reduced or expanded lifespan of the CPU. The most crucial part of configuring computer hardware is ensuring that temperatures exhibited are not within the so-called extremes or at TDP. Efforts can maintain a specific temperature range year-round by doing the following preventive maintenance.

  • Changing thermal paste every two years.
  • Running synthetic benchmarks from time to time, searching for irregularities.
  • Look for firmware updates on specific components if there are existing problems.

Closing thoughts

PCs are built to last and can withstand excessive heat over years of use. The importance of this article is to show the intricacies and processes involved with how maintenance can work for beginners and intermediates. Overall Cooling solutions will depend on the type of case and components involved.

At Apex, we offer AIO cooling solutions of every size and cross-compatibility with both Intel and AMD’s latest generation of CPUs. We also provide Airflow cases like the Corsair 4000D at no additional charge in our customized builder. Whatever your CPU and cooling needs, we hope to fulfill them at Apex!

Written by Will Wilson


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